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28 October 2014

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You are in: Guernsey > Places > Places Features > La Valette bathing pools

La Valette bathing pools

The bathing pools in summer 2008.

La Valette bathing pools

For more than 150 years swimmers on Guernsey's east coast have been able to enjoy the surroundings of the bathing pools at La Valette.

When one thinks of salt water swimming in Guernsey the first thoughts that spring to mind for many would be the long sandy beaches on the islands west coast.

But, for more than 150 years, a small area just outside of town has been available for anyone wanting a dip, in the form of La Valette bathing pools.

The first of the pools was original constructed by the parish douzaine in 1844 following the expansion of St Peter Port harbour which had removed beaches often used for bathing.

Soon after that work began on the second pool which was followed by a third, originally reserved for men, ladies and children, respectively. In this period the area was frequented by many people, including the exiled Victor Hugo and painter Monet.

The water in the pools is fed directly by the sea at high tide, but walls allow the water to remain as the tide lowers and stops an excess of weed or sea creatures finding their way into the pools.

In the 1930s permanent changing rooms were installed on the site, along with the terrace which now houses a kiosk with views out across the islands.

Though the pools remained in use by the public in the 1990s and 2000s the site had begun to show signs of wear but in 2008, between the newly installed kiosk owner Adrian Locke and the States Culture and Leisure Department, work began to renovate the area.

last updated: 23/07/2008 at 14:29
created: 23/07/2008

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